One of the best fruit desserts is simply a bowl of fresh figs. I only see them in the market occasionally. When I do, I serve them as a first course with prosciutto or as a dessert with a dollop of sweet and creamy mascarpone on the side. When fresh figs are not available, I rely on this old family recipe that utilizes dried figs.
1 teaspoon butter
12 large Calimyrna figs (1/2 pound)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a deep 6-inch round casserole dish with the butter.
With your fingers, open each fig at the stem end to form a small hole. Stuff some of the walnuts into each fig and place filled side up in a single layer in the casserole.
In a small pot, heat the wine and honey, stirring until the honey dissolves. Pour the mixture over the figs. Sprinkle on the zest, cover the casserole tightly with a lid or foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
Let the figs cool to room temperature in the casserole. To serve, place 3 figs on each of 4 small dessert dishes and pour over some of the wine sauce. Serve immediately.
This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA PRONTO by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press in 2005.
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